What is the greatest threat to the helicopter industry?

ROTOR Staff 2018 Fall

Rick Kenin

Competition for qualified helicopter aviation professionals, combined with a decreasing pool of new entries into the professions, is driving up personnel costs. The experience shortage will impact safety when “old hands” are no longer available to instruct and train students. This trend will eventually make rotary-wing services economically unsupportable when compared to autonomous vehicles and alternate transportation services.

Rick Kenin
Chief Operating Officer–Transport
Boston MedFlight

Kerry Berg

The number of qualified applicants for both pilot and mechanic positions has dwindled in recent years. With fewer applicants coming from the military, we are relying more on civilian-trained candidates. Unfortunately, the number of civilian training facilities has also decreased. And the road to meaningful employment for these candidates can often be lengthy and expensive. Civilian entrants will require a more structured path to gain the appropriate experience needed.

Kerry Berg
Director of Operations
Sanford Health Rotor Wing

Gordy Cox

My biggest concern for the future of the helicopter industry is staffing. It is getting increasingly difficult to hold onto pilots with the right skill set. It used to be that there were plenty of pilots with the requirements needed to fly utility. However, in recent years those requirements have become more stringent, and we find ourselves having to train pilots to meet the higher standards.

Gordy Cox
Director of Operations
Redding Air Service

Kurt Robinson

What keeps us up at night is the lack of qualified mechanics entering aviation or coming out of A&P schools—in particular, mechanics with an electrical/avionics background. As the demand for glass cockpits, autopilots, and other electrical/mechanical systems has flourished, the need for mechanics competent in these areas is growing tremendously.

Kurt Robinson
President
Robinson Helicopters

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